Published: 29th January 2021
After 2-day sit-in, Madras University students protesting hostel fees get all their demands met by admin
The protesting students had been demanding an appointment with the Registrar for two days and had sent in several letters to the administration and into their complaint box
After two days of protest, the hostel students residing at the University of Madras’ Marina campus finally managed to get most of their demands met by the administration. The students had refused to pay the hostel fees for the months during the lockdown when they were sent back to their hometowns. They were also protesting against the administration for not providing a mess and proper water supply at the hostel despite demanding fees.
The protesting students had been demanding an appointment with the Registrar for two days and had sent in several letters to the administration and into their complaint box. On January 29, the students finally had the chance to meet with the Registrar and presented all their issues to him. The students stated that it is unfair for the students to be charged with hostel fees when they were not occupying the rooms. They were also being asked to shift to the Taramani hostel where they would have to start afresh with a new deposit plus also pay the fees they were charged at the Marina campus. They had also demanded that they not be charged with paying for the mess workers’ salaries, especially since the mess had not been reopened and they were having to spend money to buy food from outside.
The students said that the Registrar had accepted most of their demands. “We were told that fees that we were being charged for March, April and May will be cancelled. They said they are unable to open the mess here, so we are being asked to move to Taramani. But unlike the initial condition, we’ve been told that our deposits from Marina campus hostel will be transferred to Taramani. Any pre-March dues we can pay later,” one of the students said.
With regard to the demand that students not be asked to pay the workers’ salaries, the students were told by the administration that it would be considered. The students demanded that the Registrar confirm these decisions in a written statement, “We negotiated for an hour and tried to get written confirmation but we were told that there were a lot of bureaucratic hassles. So they would not be able to give this to us in writing.”
However, students said that the administration requested one week to take action, “We were told that in a week all the demands would be met. They requested us to trust them and give them a week. If they are not met, they said we could protest again. To avail mess facilities, we were told we can go right away to Taramani hostel,” the students told Edex.
The students, in a statement, thanked all their supporters but criticised the fact that it was so difficult for them to get an appointment with the Registrar despite him walking past them several times. “We believe that educational knowledge is about breaking down barriers and learning to respect fellow human beings and to develop a democratic character. So we condemn the anarchic nature of the administration. But we are glad we were finally able to meet the Registrar and get the issue sorted,” they said.